Posted On: 10/5/18 2:00 PM
The Wright County West saw three teams approach 20 wins last season. A league with a lot of solid teams, not even the top teams in the league by a huge margin on average last season. Annandale’s been the class of the conference for a while but with the Cardinals seemingly headed towards a retool, a few other teams appear ready to take a run at the top spot. Here’s what you need to know:
Favorite: New London-Spicer
New London-Spicer won 19 games last season and was a game away from sharing a conference title with Annandale. The Wildcats should head into the year as the favorite to win the league this season and potentially earn a spot in the state tournament out of Section 3AA. Brandon Adelman is one of the best players in the state and he’s joined in the backcourt by Ryan Wygnaowski. Ander Arnold gives the team a third double-figure scorer and three more of the team’s rotation guys are back in the fold too. Expectations should be high.
Contenders: Rockford, Litchfield
Rockford was one of the contenders in the conference last season and the Rockets should be strong again this season. Luke Pepin was one of the top players in the conference as a sophomore averaging better than 16 points per game. Nick Manthana averaged 11 points a game on the wing and Hawkin Petron earned rotation minutes in the backcourt.
The Dragons were a middling team a year ago, winning 12 games. But they return four starters and what could be the best duo in the conference in Owen Borema and Alex Gruenke. Borema averaged 17.5 points per game last season and is a player-of-the-year candidate.
Should Compete: Annandale, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Mound Westonka
Annandale’s been one of the best programs from a consistency standpoint for years and while they will be uncharacteristically inexperienced, they’ve got an elite coach who is worth trusting even if the names may be entirely unfamiliar. Cameron Howard played sparing minutes last year as a junior and returns in the backcourt. Vince Healy and TJ Jok could fill minutes on the wings and sophomore big man Logan Purcell is a player to watch. The Cardinals may not be state tournament contenders at the start of the year, but they’ll never be a pushover.
Glencoe-Silver Lake returns three starters in Dane Schwirtz (11 points per game as a junior), Gabe Roepke and Gage Alsleben. Mitchel Klockmann is a guy to watch as well after earning rotation minutes as a freshman.
Mound Westonka won just three conference games last year but returns four of its top six guys including Nicolas Phommahaxey and Jameson Sexton. The White Hawks will be small — four returners are 6-foot and smaller — but they should be able to put up points.
Rebuilding: Watertown-Mayer, Dassel-Cokato
Dassel-Cokato had one of its best years in a long time thanks to terrific senior play from Trever Kaiser, Alex Terning and Isaac Morris. The Chargers face a mass rebuild now with nearly every key member of their rotation gone to graduation.
Watertown-Mayer was inexperienced last season after graduating a big senior class. Unfortunately for the Royals, that inexperience was still a lot seniors which means they’ll be replacing a big chunk of their rotation yet again.
18-19 Conference Predictions
Wright County West All Conference
Brandon Adelman, Sr., New London-Spicer (POY)
Owen Borema, Sr., Litchfield
Luke Pepin, Jr., Rockford
Ryan Wygnaowski, Sr., New London-Spicer
Dane Schwirtz, Sr., Glencoe-Silver Lake
Jameson Sexton, Jr., Mound Westonka
Ander Arnold, Sr., New London-Spicer
Nick Manthana, Sr., Rockford
Alex Gruenke, Sr., Litchfield
Vince Healy, Sr., Annandale
Sanders Asplin, Jr., Dassel-Cokato
Nicolas Phommahaxey, Sr., Mound Westonka
Gabe Roepke, Sr., Litchfield
Will McBee, Jr., Watertown-Mayer
Cameron Howard, Sr., Annandale